On Sunday, RTI activist Suhas Haldankar, who exposed several civic lapses in Kharalwadi area of Pimpri-Chinchwad in Maharashtra was brutally murdered by 11 people, including a former Congress corporator, the Indian Express has reported. As per the police, the activist was murdered because of a rivalry in the recently concluded municipal elections.
Police arrested the 11 people and they have been remanded to a eight day police custody by a local court.
Haldankar was on his way home when his bike was stopped by two of the accused at a chowk in Kharalwadi area, police said. The accused then went on to ridicule Haldankar for a board he had put up recently, highlighting the lack of basic civic amenities in Kharalwadi.
As an argument erupted, other people started thrashing the activist, some of them using concrete blocks to hit Haldankar, police added. Haldankar collapsed on the spot, and was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
According to the Indian Express, there are at least five witnesses in the case. “Initial probe revealed that Kalya alias Sandip Kalapure, who worked as a watchman at the children’s home run by Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), had lost his job because of Haldankar. Haldankar had complained to PCMC that Kalapure was mostly absent. An inquiry was initiated by PCMC against Kalapure and he lost his job. Haldankar had also put up banners in the area against Kailas Kadam (who is the brother of accused Sadguru Kadam. Both are former corporators,” assistant inspector R R Thubal told The Indian Express.
Tension prevailed in Kharalwadi on Monday as locals took out a silent march demanding action against the culprits and end to “goonda raj” in the area.